It used to be that there were three automatic numbers as far as gaining entrance to immortality in Cooperstown: 300 wins for a pitcher, 500 home runs for power hitters, and 3000 hits for the rest. Well, that being the case, the fact that former Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio remains without a plaque in the Hall of Fame is testament to the fact that their must be a change as far as the voting process is concerned.
There are currently around 570 in the Baseball Writers Association of America, all of whom are allowed one ballot of up to 10 votes per Hall of Fame election. Several members of the BBWAA admit that change has to be made, that some of these voters do not deserve votes. However, for the time being, the system is here to stay.
Back to the main point.
Biggio is one of the greatest second basemen of all time; he is fifth all time in doubles among all position players. His 1,014 extra base hits put him smack in between Mike Schmidt and Rogers Hornsby on the all time list. He is the only player ever, in the history of the game, to achieve the milestone of 600 doubles, 250 home runs, 3000 hits and 400 steals. He is a seven-time All-Star, five-time silver slugger, and two different positions and four-time gold glove winner.
If for some reason that just doesn’t seem like enough, there’s the character integrity clause. This clause is supposedly included when considering a player’s credibility. Here’s a little bit about Biggio’s integrity.
Biggio changed his position to fit what his team needed. He started as a catcher, moved to second, then moved to the outfield to accommodate the newly acquired Jeff Kent, and then back to second when it was vacant again. He spent 20 years with the same team and took three pay cuts to ensure that he would forever be a Houston Astros icon. Even today, he is continually involved in the team that he was the face of for two decades. This loyalty is unheard of in modern day sports, where guys like Robinson Cano openly state that they’ll go to whoever pays the most.
Many former teammates of Biggio have voiced their opinions as well. Jeff Bagwell was very outspoken about how deserving his former teammate was, telling those that didn’t vote for Biggio, “You’re misinformed. He gave everything and his body every single day he went out there.”
Brad Ausmus also spoke out about his shock. “I’m a little surprised…. It’s certainly disappointing.”
But it’s the BBWAA who know the guy best, not his teammates.
Biggio will get into the Hall of Fame, his 3000 hits ensure that. He only came up two votes shy, but that’s not the point. It’s the added credentials that should have made him a first balloter. For some reason, there are some baseball writers out there who think his .281 career average is too low or that he hung on for dear life to get his 3,000 hits. It’s those people that didn’t vote for him, and it’s an atrocity to the game to keep this deserving ball player out of the hall.